QUEENS, NY — On January 26, 2010, after four years and six restraining orders, Huang Chen’s increasingly psychotic fixation on Qian Wu tragically, grotesquely exploded into lethal consequences.
The deadly cycle began in 2006 after Wu, a 46-year-old mother-of-one, failed to find work for Chen, 47, through the employment agency she ran with her husband. The company focused on serving New York’s Chinese immigrant community.
Alas, Chen, an undocumented immigrant, proved impossible to place in a job. Almost immediately, then, Chen launched a campaign of threats and harassment specifically against Wu. In time, he turned physical — punching and choking her.
Police arrested Chen for that attack. In 2009, authorities sent him to jail in El Paso, Texas, for deportation proceedings, but his lawyers found a loophole that, instead, set him free. With Wu foremost on his mind, Chen hightailed it back to New York.
Upon returning, Chen made his presence known to Wu immediately. He even moved into her same apartment building.
Yung Wir Guo, Wu’s husband, confronted Chen and attempted to bribe him with $200 to stop, saying, “My wife is scared of you. Don’t come back!” It didn’t work.On January 25, Qian Wud filed a fresh harassment complaint against Chen with her local precinct. The cops told to renew her old order of protection. She didn’t even have time to get that started.
The very next evening, Chen secretly followed Wu home from a corner store. After she opened her apartment door, Chen forced his way inside.
He bludgeoned Wu 18 times with a hammer, stabbed her repeatedly with a utility knife, and choked her to death with a plastic rope. After she died, Chen carved out Wu’s heart and lungs — and took them with him.
From there, Chen rushed to his own apartment, got changed, and, with the help of his landlady Wenxin Zhang, 54, cleaned up the blood. He told her he’d been mugged.
That night, Chen dumped a bag containing his gore-soaked clothes and weapons in a nearby park, and went to an emergency room to get treated for wounds Wu inflicted on him in the struggle. Again, he said it was the work of muggers.
Surveillance cameras captured Chen leaving the building with a bloody back. Gruesomely, though, Wu’s heart and lungs were never located.
Yung Wir Guo, who had been sleeping in the back of the apartment during the carnage, awoke to find his wife’s body. He immediately told police to look for Chen. Officers tracked him down fast and charged him with murder.
In December 2011, New York State Supreme Court Judge Richard Buchter sentenced Chen to 29 years in jail and excoriated the system that enabled him to commit murder, pointing out, “The victim was left at the mercy of a raging psychopath, a monster who had no business being in our state, in our county, in our country.”
Guo filed a $15 million lawsuit against the NYPD for failing to protect Wu. He told the press:
“She didn’t feel safe even though she went to [the police] repeatedly. I even told her not to go out by herself, because she was afraid he would kill her. Whatever happened before the murder, they could have handled better.”
The widower did, however, praise the officers for doing “an excellent job catching the murderer.” His words carried weight not just as a grieving survivor, but because of Guo’s job in China before he emigrated to Queens: He had been a cop.
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Main photo: Huang Chen [El Paso Police Department]